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Student landlord fined almost £6k for failing to obtain the correct licenses

A student landlord has been penalised for renting out two houses in Durham without the appropriate licenses.

Lisa Chatfield, 38, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a condition of her licence for a property in St Margarets Garth and for not having an HMO licence for another house in Nevilledale Terrace.

Chatfield, who is from Newcastle, had acquired an HMO licence for the house in St Margarets Garth, but an inspection by the council on July 2014 found that the property had seven bedrooms, rather than the maximum of five that is permitted.

What’s more, it transpired that seven people were living in the property, which was considered to be overcrowded.

The landlord also pleaded guilty to failing to renew an expired HMO licence for her house in Nevilledale Terrace.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court has ordered to pay £5,726.47, which some landlords will consider to be harsh, especially as the court acknowledged that the safety of the tenants had not been jeopardised.

Gary Hutchinson, Durham County Council’s environment protection manager, said: “We take our duty to regulate houses of multiple occupancy very seriously and this case should act as a warning to all landlords to ensure they obtain the correct licences.

“Although we know most landlords take their responsibility seriously, having a licence acts as proof of the quality of accommodation being provided and ensures tenants can live in decent and safe homes.”

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